✨✏Design, Vision, and Birthdays: How I Brought Her Sketches To Life!🦄🎻

What if there was a way to immortalize your child's drawings? How would you do it? For me, it was a labor of love... x 2.

We stumbled upon the conversation of what her birthday outfit should look like. I told her she could help design it (since, full disclosure, I am a part of an affiliate program with My Fabric Designs). Well, this little puppy girl of mine came up with the idea of animals playing instruments! How fun! She stayed up all night, sketching in her sketchbook. She asked me, pretty please, if she could stay up to draw, and since it was summer break, I obliged happily. I walked into the living room the next morning and found her asleep on her sketchbook 🙊 I carried her to the bedroom and tucked her in. When she awoke, she discussed all of her drawings with me! Wait'll you see what she came up with!

The Backstory

After the concept, the fabric was decided next. We wanted a departure from last year's birthday dress (with its yards upon yards of chiffon, narrow hems by the mile, weeks of hand-beading). You see, she wore it to school, ahem, a chiffon dress with a train, mind you, against my permission. She was sneaky and wore it on a day when daddy was getting her ready for school and withheld telling daddy about my wishes. Well, the inevitable happened: a kid stepped on her train and the top chiffon layer ripped over 4 inches away from the lining 😓. Distraught and remorseful, she brought the dress to me when she got home, in tears. I managed to fix quite well; only I know that the skirt seam's not perfect. This year we vowed that we'd make something that she could easily wear to school and be super proud of!!!

So! I sat her on my lap and we flipped through my My Fabric Designs fabric swatches together (since I am affiliated with them for custom designing fabric), till we found the poly/spandex knit. It has a great sheen, perfect stretch recovery, and is the most vibrant of all the recent printed fabrics I've gotten made (although the Blackstar sweater is a close second in poly French terry).  

The Fabric Story

Here's the lineup of animals she showed to me from her sketchbook:

  • 🐆cheetah on a piano🎹
  • 🐺🌕werewolf playing a saxophone in the moonlight🎷
  • 🦄unicorn sitting and playing a violin🎻
  • 🎵giraffe shaking a tambourine💛
  • 🐟fish blowing a fish whistle in a bowl of water🐡
  • 🐘elephant shaking a maraca in some flowers🌹🌻🌷🌼

her scanned in sketches


how I turned her sketches into a fabric design.

What I did was scan them into my computer as black and white images, then pulled them up in Illustrator, cleaned them up (increased the contrast, connected any broken lines or anchor points), then filled them in Photoshop (it was easier for me). After that, I went back into Illustrator and made two patterns: a repeating polka-dot pattern and an "iridescent" gradient background pattern as well. After that, I made a square, placed her (now) colored in sketches so that they matched up perfectly on all sides, and clicked down to "pattern" then "make". It took a long time to get it all to make sense and line up!

The Dress Pattern Backstory

I ordered the fabric questionably close to her birthday and was mentally set up that it wasn't going to show up in time. So, when the fabric came in the night before our birthday adventure day, I was elated but shocked! EEK! I wasn't quite prepared! I knew I wanted to do a vinyl-y black spandex pointed collar, and that I didn't want a gathered knit skirt. I figured with the lightness of this fabric that it would fall very flat and drab, if I gathered it. Pleated would be a better way to show off her artwork anyways!

I love the way the skirt bounces when she runs!

I drafted the bodice with a nice front scoop and tailored collar. And for the skirt, I winged it, day of. In fact, a few hours before we left (aka first thing in the morning), I cut and sewed the entire thing! I finished the hem with a matching vinyl-y black binding and we ran out of the door (it was getting late, for crying out loud!) That is definitely the quickest sewing I have ever done for a birthday outfit!

This girl is the most incredible humans + big sister: she's the most compassionate kiddo, confident in herself, and filled with love for science and nature. She's so perfect; I can't even handle it. She's one of the best friends I could ever ask for and it brings us both to tears that she's growing up so fast! 🖤🖤🖤🖤🖤🖤🖤🖤

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What about you? Have you ever thought of designing fabric with your kiddo? What do you think they'd come up with? Leave a comment and let me know!!! Leave a little note if you think she did a good job so I can read it to her later!😝

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